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Spooky Craft Round-Up!

It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday, so let’s look at some incredible Halloween crafters and projects to make your October complete.

Whether you just love to dress up and decorate, or whether your Halloween isn’t complete without getting your hands dirty with pumpkin carving or a craft project, this is a great time of year to embrace your creative side. Halloween crafts are so fun because they can be refined or rustic, playful or spooky, traditional or futuristic… there’s something for everyone. So let’s celebrate the season with this round-up!

Halloween Inspiration

One of the things I love about Halloween is that there are so many different visual approaches to the design and decor of the season. Here are just a few inspirations to borrow from:

Vintage Halloween

Vintage Halloween is a round-up of the classics. The color scheme is usually orange and black, and motifs include witches, black cats, full moons, ghosts, spiderwebs, etc. This can be a great source of inspiration, because there is so much material out there, and it’s old and public domain, so there are a lot of printables and templates.

Gothic Halloween

Like all things gothic, this interpretation of Halloween is inspired by visions of a dead/decaying past. The color scheme is black and grey, with red or purple accents. The motifs are usually victorian clothing, architecture, and decor, that has been aged or decayed. Spiderwebs, tattered rags, bats and gargoyles, Miss Havisham, haunted mansions… this look is super easy to create with Dollar Store items, matte black paint, and a hot glue gun. These are also fun projects to practice aging and weathering your crafts.

Dia de Muertos

The day of the dead is wonderful because it’s a celebration of life, and involves richly decorating the items and places that honor your ancestors. It’s incredibly colorful, and incorporates wonderful patterns and textures. Of special importance are flowers and specifically marigolds, fruits and nuts, and other symbols of love and prosperity. There is no wrong way to do the Day of the Dead, because it’s meant to be personal and heartfelt. It’s a wonderful approach to Halloween for people who don’t like bleak and spooky.

Modern, Minimalist Halloween

(I have also seen this called “Scandinavian Halloween”, but I think that’s just the thing where people associate clean lines and stripped-down color palettes with Scandinavian design). Obviously, this is a gorgeous look for people who don’t want a lot of visual noise and clutter, and who have a more modern aesthetic. The trick here is to choose a really limited color palette, and then strongly feature and highlight just a few seasonal pieces. It’s a less-is-more approach to Halloween, and it’s beautiful.

Decorating Pumpkins

Decorating pumpkins is one of my favorite things to do this time of year. It’s an inherently ephemeral art form, so there isn’t a bunch of stuff left over to figure out what to do with. I love pumpkin carving:

pumpkin carving inspiration from The Balance Everyday

Tips for pumpkin carving:

  • Wall thickness: if you hollow the pumpkin out and make the walls very thin, the whole pumpkin will glow, which can be a great look. Or leave the walls thicker, so your design stands out in sharper contrast.
  • Air flow: if you will be putting actual candles inside your pumpkin, your design needs to allow enough air circulation to provide oxygen that keeps the candle burning. Depending on your design, you may want to create an opening in the back or bottom to ensure adequate air flow. If you use LED tealights or battery-powered string lights, your design doesn’t have to include air flow.
  • Pumpkin carving tools: skip the pumpkin carving tool sets that you can pick up at the store, unless you have kids who need safer tools. They are weak and don’t last. Instead, pick up some linoleum carving tools (not an affiliate link), which are more precise, more versatile, and last longer.

You can also simply paint or apply decals to a pumpkin:

painted pumpkin inspiration from Family Handyman

Tips for painted pumpkins:

  • Finish them. Because pumpkins are organic, they will react to moisture in the air. Give them a final coat of water-resistant varnish (spray varnish is great for even coverage, and you can get it in matte, satin, or gloss) to keep them looking good for longer.
  • Light them. If you want the convenience of painting pumpkins, but wish you could also light them up, consider some kind of LED button light (not an affiliate link) that lets you spotlight them from the outside.

You can also just make your own pumpkins from paper mache:

paper mache pumpkin from Spookyblue

Last year I messed around and made some paper mache pumpkins. It’s very easy to do with balloons and string, but this clever YouTuber makes a giant pumpkin from a trash bag, which I think is genius!

Halloween DIY Projects

Here are some great Halloween DIY projects that I want to try:

  • A shadow box! I really feel like a shadowbox will be my next papercraft project. This shadow box tutorial isn’t specifically Halloween themed, but Nerdforge has a ton of spooky, gothic, witchy, fairy projects if you are into that, and the videos are so informative and detailed – I love this channel.
  • Halloween haunted mansion from resin and clay: I haven’t worked my way up to any of Nelco neco’s tutorials yet, because I am not ready to work with resin, but I love them so, so much, and this haunted mansion DIY is absolutely gorgeous.
  • DIY paper mache mask: It’s actually really easy to make a paper mache mask custom-fitted to your face, but this tutorial breaks it down really well, and who doesn’t love a skull mask for Halloween? It would also be fun to decorate this like a sugar skull for Dios de los Muertos.
  • DIY Dementor decor: If you’re not into Harry Potter, this can still be wonderful spooky accent piece in your home, and it’s an easy and affordable project. It can also be a great approach to just making any bony/wraith thing you have in mind.

If you are shopping for Halloween decor and costume accessories, consider supporting small businesses and creators on Etsy rather than big franchises. It’s just as convenient, and your support means so much more to a small business.

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